July 3, 2023
At the end of last year I promised a quarterly newsletter, and otherwise to not clutter up email boxes. The advantages of a quarterly publication, I'm learning, are enough time to consider and reject ideas to write about, enough time for projects to develop, make progress, or languish, and time to change my mind about something and head in a different direction. All of these are true this time.
Summer is a time for me to work on the Crime Spell Books anthology, reviewing and editing mss, and organizing the material. I'm in the middle of that this month, July. We have another collection of excellent, intriguing stories for readers, and we're excited about launching this year's anthology, Wolfsbane: Best New England Crime Stories 2023, at Crime Bake in November. If you're familiar with the conference, registration is open. If you're not, visit www.crimebake.org and discover one of the best small mystery conferences in the country.
Last week I led a SinCNE Members Read. A group of six writers came together to read and discuss their WIPs. Some of us have taken longer than others to return to in-person gatherings, so it was a special pleasure for some of us to sit in the same room with other writers listening, reading, asking questions. We all came away with something new, something learned, and something shared.
The work of turning my back yard into a natural habitat for birds and four-legged visitors continues. This entails getting rid of invasives and creating an environment where native plants can flourish. It's slow going, but infinitely interesting. I'm learning a lot about native plants, learning to recognize natives and non-natives, and what will attract more bees and birds. The big leaf hydrangea, for example, is non-native but it's not invasive. And, especially important to me, the cardinals enjoy perching on its stems. After many years, a Baltimore oriole has been seen in the neighborhood, goldfinches are also nearby, and juncos and sparrows are everywhere.
Those little yellow flowers (above) are spreading, and may over time become the ground cover for much of the back yard. Some argue the common yellow wood sorrel is native to North America, but others disagree. No matter, they're lovely, and the bees and birds like them (and the ants, alas).
The spring quarter ends on a high note. Harlequin will publish the mass market paperback of the sixth Anita Ray, In Sita's Shadow. No date yet on when. Harlequin has done the previous four Anita Ray mysteries, and I'm thrilled they're taking on this one. I hope you also have good news coming soon.
Happy Fourth of July! And after that, Happy Summer!